Shalev: Debate one-sided
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
Mansour: Collective punishment in Gaza
Photo: AP

UN debate highlights West Bank clashes

Assistant to UN chief slams razing of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem, settlers' 'price tag' policy

WASHINGTON – The UN Security Council on Wednesday made the razing of homes in east Jerusalem the main subject of its periodic debate on the Middle East.


Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco reviewed developments that took place in the area over the past three months and condemned the razing of Palestinians' homes in east Jerusalem in the name of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Taranco said Israel was still building in the West Bank despite its declaration of a temporary freeze in construction in settlements. He added that 107 violent clashes were reported to have occurred between settlers and Palestinians as part of the settlers' 'price tag policy' for the evacuation of illegal outposts.


The assistant also expressed disappointment over Israel's refusal to allow building material into the Gaza Strip following the damage done there during Operation Cast Lead. He demanded the state refrain from interfering with UN aid in the rebuilding process.


The Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riad Mansour, complained of the international community's lack of response for the "collective punishment" in Gaza. He called for a "breaking of the siege" in order to rebuild the Strip and for Israel's punishment due to the conclusions of the Goldstone report.


Mansour also accused Israel of attempting to alter the character of east Jerusalem, and said the "annexation of east Jerusalem" had been carried out in violation of Security Council resolutions.


'Council should focus on terror'

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, said the debate was "not promoting the peace process" as it was one-sided. She added that direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were a necessary alternative to the debate.


Shalev said Israel was taking "difficult steps" in its efforts for peace, and that the Palestinians were harming these efforts by refusing direct talks. She opined that instead of spotlighting the conflict, the Security Council would do better to focus on terror threats and extremists in the region.


The ambassador also warned against continuing weapons smuggling to Hezbollah through Syria, and stressed that any aggression would be met by an "immediate response".


The British ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said during the debate that any permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital of both states.


He also expressed concern over "Israel's announcement of additional settlements in east Jerusalem" and called on the government to halt any activity that would encumber the peace process.


French Ambassador Gerard Araud also condemned Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, and called it an "obstacle to peace". He also declared Jerusalem the future capital of two states.


פרסום ראשון: 01.27.10, 19:52
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